The Day Before You Die – Why Doing What Really Matters is So Important: Paddy Ney (Transcript)

I actually quite like that video. It got 60,000 views on Facebook by the way. So if you guys are looking for inspiration, you can go with something like that. But it’s not something I’m necessarily going to be very proud of.

And then, one day, I went to the pub, to watch the Polish Cup game between Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznań — I couldn’t get a ticket. And I didn’t come home.

I regained consciousness in the emergency room of a neurosurgical ward. And I was tired, I was confused, I was disoriented and I didn’t know what had happened.

And the doctors came to me and explained that I’d been attacked, and that I had a severely fractured skull. They’d hit me with some kind of blunt instrument on the side of the head.

And when your skull fractures, you get tears in the arteries inside your skull, and those arteries start to bleed and that blood has to go somewhere.

But there is no somewhere in between your skull and your brain. That place doesn’t exist.

So the blood starts to coagulate, come together, pull and get thicker and wider. And in my case, the blood that was starting to grow there, which we call a hematoma, was six centimeters wide, two centimeters deep, and pressing and pressing onto my brain.

And the doctors explained that when this blood is pushing onto your brain – it’s not supposed to be there – it causes all sorts of brain damage: movement problems, speech problems, memory problems. Not a pleasant experience.

So I’m lying there in this hospital, and I’m super-lucky that I even survived the attack. But I’ve got this hematoma pressing on my brain that, at any second, could damage me permanently. And the doctors suggested waiting for 10 days to see whether this hematoma would dissipate, dissolve, disappear.

And after 10 days, that hadn’t happened.

So then, they gave me a choice. Option A: “You can go home, Patrick, and you can wait it out. Basically, it might take a few months, but eventually, this hematoma might dissolve. But if you have any problems with your movement or your speech or your memory or anything like that, just come back on in to the hospital.”

It didn’t sound like a really attractive offer.

Option B: “You can have a craniotomy. That’s where they remove a section of the skull with an electric drill and then suction out the hematoma, replace the skull. It’s major surgery. It’s on the brain, it’s not a joke.” So that didn’t sound very good either.

So what would you do?

Option A, wait? Or option B, take the operation?

So whilst I’m lying there in this hospital, and I’m lucky to have made it through the attack, you can imagine that I spent a lot of time thinking. And it hit me like a bolt.

I just remember the exact moment I was lying there and I thought, “You know, all of the stuff that I was doing, all of the work that I was obsessed about before this attack, the amount of money I earned, the tasks I had to do, the battles I had to win at work – none of that mattered at that particular moment.

The only thing that mattered were the people I loved: my friends and my family. My little brother Jeremy who lived in the US – he couldn’t just drop everything and fly over.

My nephew Sam was one and a half, and I had to think, “Am I ever going to see this beautiful boy again?”

My parents, I just wanted to hold them, to see them again, to smell them, to touch their hands. And all of that could have been robbed from me because of that experience.

So, there’s the choice: Option A, wait, or option B, take the operation. And it hit me like a diamond. It was so clear to me then that the most important thing to me in that moment was love, the strength and the power of love, by which I mean the power and the strength of the relationships that we have between us.

I was lying in that hospital bed and in a room with four other men. And as I had this realization, as this truth came to me, as this absolute truth, this absolute clarity came to me, I understood for the first time that I loved them. I loved these strangers and I loved their families and I loved the doctors and I loved the nurses.

And I realized then, it was so obvious — in fact, it was in front of me at the time, I’d just never seen it before — that we are all connected by the power of love.

And as you sit here today, I can assure you that we are all connected to one another by the power of love. That was the truth for me.

It was as clear as day I’d just never seen it before.

So what would you do? Option A or option B? Well, I preferred to take action.

So, in the end, I chose option B. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it out, and if I did make it out, if I’d be the same person. There’s plenty of risks associated. It’s major surgery. It’s traumatic surgery.

So I wrote my farewell letters, I said my goodbyes, I made peace with myself and I swore that if I made it out in one piece, I would never forget that moment, that beautiful moment of clarity, my trust in the faith and power of love.

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